Hip osteoarthritis (OA) causes the cartilage that cushions your joints to be lost, resulting in pain and stiffness.
Your doctor will be able to provide recommendations based on your condition. The treatments range from conservative to invasive. Conservative treatments include exercising and stretching. Invasive treatments include hip replacement surgery. All these treatments can help manage pain and improve mobility.
Because hip arthritis is a degenerative condition, your symptoms will likely worsen as the cartilage breaks down even more. Some people can go for many years using conservative treatments before surgery is indicated. Read on to learn about the treatment options you have for hip arthritis.
Pain management is among the first-line treatment methods for hip arthritis. For those with mild symptoms, over-the-counter ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen may control the pain. These medications have anti-inflammatory effects as well, so they may also reduce irritation of nerves.
People with moderate to severe OA of the hip may require more help in the form of prescription pain relievers and anti-arthritis medications.
Doctors may offer injections to reduce pain. These injections include the following:
- Hyaluronic acid: Hyaluronic acid provides lubrication to your joints and reduces stiffness, but the FDA for use in the hip has not approved it.
- Steroid injections: Corticosteroid injections can reduce inflammation and swelling in the hip, which reduces pain. But these injections may also thin the surrounding bones. Also, the pain relief may be only temporary.
- Platelet-rich plasma therapy: Some athletes, including Tiger Woods and Rafael Nadal, use this new therapy approach on the knee. It uses a sample of your own blood to create a concentration of blood platelets. The platelets are then injected into the damaged area of the cartilage to relieve pain and speed healing.
Many of these pain management options are used along with physical therapy exercises.
Low-impact physical therapy can also keep you flexible and allow your hips to move more smoothly. Good exercises for physical therapy include:
- Tai Chi
- Stationary Biking
If you’re unsure about proper posture and alignment, ask your doctor to recommend a physical therapist. They can guide you through exercises and minimize the chance of injury.
Some people have also tried using natural therapies to treat hip arthritis. Although research related to the effectiveness of natural therapies isn’t always conclusive, many people have found relief using approaches such as:
- Stem Cell Therapy
- Supplements, such as capsaicin, glucosamine, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), and ginger
Always talk to your doctor before taking any supplement. Natural supplements can interact with medications.
Doctors are constantly conducting research to find new medications and treatments to treat or maybe even cure OA. Much of the latest research has been focused on the potential of stem cells.
Growing New Cartilage
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that researchers could use stem cells to grow new cartilage. The researchers then used the cartilage to create a “scaffold,” or cover, which can be applied over the hip joint to reduce pain and stiffness related to arthritis.
A research study published in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy detailed the concept of reprogramming cells to restore cartilage and bone.
These studies have yet to begin animal or human trials and may have many years to go before the treatment is approved.
If you are suffering from pain, please contact our office at (516) 419-4480 or (718) 215-1888 to arrange an appointment with our Interventional Pain Management Specialist, Dr. Jeffrey Chacko.